COLORADO SPRINGS — In this Your Healthy Family if you have been emotionally shaken by recent mass shootings, I'm suggesting a couple things basic things you can do that might help you feel a little better beginning with donating blood.
Brooke Way, who is the Communications Manager with Vitalant Blood Donation tells me, “Our hearts go out to all the victims and their family members right now. We encourage you if you are feeling helpless like many of us are right now - do some good in the wake of this tragedy. You can make an appointment to give blood.”
The need for blood donations remains high following the national blood shortage in January, and keeping the national blood supply stocked, helps deal with tragedies big and small as well as nationally and here in southern Colorado.
Brooke says, “Vitalant is a nationwide network and we have sent several units of O negative blood to a local blood bank in Texas to help in the wake of this tragedy. You will never know if your blood donation will be sent locally to a Colorado patient or nationally to someone who may be a victim of a horrible accident or horrible tragedy where they live. Just keep that in mind, it’s the blood on the shelf already - that saves lives. We need donors coming in throughout the year.”
The medical professionals at our local hospitals depend on blood donations so they are always ready for any emergency that requires blood infusions to save lives. Robert Welch is the Senior Director of Operations and System Lead Laboratory Services at UCHealth Memorial.
Rob says of Memorial Central Hospital in Colorado Springs, “We are a Level 1 Trauma Center and you never know what those needs are going to be, or when there’s going to be an accident in the community. It could be any one of us who needs blood and we make sure that we have an adequate blood supply on the shelf for situations like that. It’s also part of our routine treatment for a lot of cancer patients as well. We never know when there’s going to be a situation where someone who is in surgery or otherwise - needs blood.”
You can also make sure you know basic first aid skills when it comes to treating people who are bleeding for any reason. Preventing people from losing blood from an injury of any kind can be the difference between life and death. Uncontrolled bleeding is the number one cause of death after a mass shooting or similar mass casualty events.
Lori Morgan, is the UCHealth Memorial Trauma Outreach and Injury Prevention Specialist, and teaches a free class from UCHealth for individuals or organizations called Stop the Bleed.
Lori who is also a former paramedic points out, “You could come across a crash on the road. You can get hurt at home, you could get hurt at work, you could get hurt at school, you could get hurt at the mall. It doesn't matter where you are - it can happen anywhere and if you're prepared, you can save a life. If someone is injured and bleeding it may only take a couple of minutes to bleed to death. The arrival the first responders (on average) takes six minutes so there’s a disparity there.”
Finally, make sure that as we all process the emotions from this latest act of evil, and all the political back and forth that will follow be aware of your mental health. Cassie Fallon, is a licensed marriage and family therapist, with Thriveworks Counseling in Colorado Springs.
Cassie says, “It’s really hard to ask for help and we kind of come from a culture of suck it up buttercup.”
So if you, or someone you know is struggling on any level with mental health, please reach out for help from a trusted friend or a mental health care professional. Cassie adds, “No matter your age, size, style, culture or family situation. Life is hard and asking for help is hard but once we do it - it doesn’t have to be so hard.”
To learn more you can watch the full Your Healthy Family stories on these topics.
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